In anticipation of our upcoming ‘PODcast’ episode of the NRL Fantasy Amateurs where we’ll look at some potentially good options with lower ownership or a “Point of Difference” (POD), I’ve decided to cast my eye over some of the over looked value options because after all, who doesn’t love a POD? We begin our journey today looking at the Edge position, which can be a little tricky to fill at times so we’re exploring every possibility. At only 1.7% ownership and priced at 461k, is Wade Graham a potential solution? Let’s take a look.
The 31-year-old captain of the Cronulla Sharks had a very unlucky year in 2021, sustaining multiple head knocks which saw him call his season short with only 11 games played. A few shortened appearances last season has left Graham discounted to a 37 break even which would appear to provide some clear value here for a player that has been a reliable mid-40s scorer every season for the majority of his career. The mid-40s pattern was even there last year when you look at Graham’s 8 60+ min appearances where he was able to produce a very handy 45 point average (new scoring). Graham isn’t overly effected by the scoring changes, only losing 1 point from tackle busts per game but this is offset by an extra point gained in offloading.
Where I see the potential for Graham to pick up some extra value to his 44-45 typical average, is through the addition of kick metres. It’s well known Graham has a handy left boot, while Moylan doesn’t like to kick at all, averaging just 15 kick metres per game at 5/8 last season. You combine that with neither Kennedy nor Brailey being noted kickers while Hynes has never kicked for 100+ meters in his NRL career thus far and I’m left thinking it’s not unlikely to see Graham kicking for about 100m per game on average. In fact, prior to the repeated concussions last year, in all games where Moylan was 5/8, Graham averaged about 100 meters per game, including two 200+ kick metre games in 2018. So while everyone has been focused in the up tick in kicking Hynes is likely to receive, I believe Graham has been over looked in that regard. I think it’s fairly reasonable to say that Hynes is unlikely a Cleary/Reynolds/Moses/Johnson type boot who will be kicking for 400+ metres regularly. I think it’s likely Fitzgibbon will want to help ease the pressure on his new halfback and the boot of your experienced club captain seems an obvious pressure valve.
Now the argument against Graham I think is a pretty simple one. Firstly, he’s now 31 years old. Secondly, he’s a head knock or two away from potentially being the next Boyd Cordner or Jake Friend. I might have the player goggles on a little bit here given I do have a love for Graham that others will likely not and may more heavily weight those two risks. For me, he’s a buy and is currently resting in one of my edge spots with a current projection of 46 points.